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    Level the Playing Field Between Distribution Platform Operators and Free Dish & OTT: Digital Cable Federation to TRAI

    The All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) requested the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to enforce regulations on DD Free Dish and OTT platforms, alleging an unequal playing field, in their comments on the National Broadcasting Policy released by TRAI last month. It also asked for content parity, which would allow the same content to be distributed by different mediums like OTT, dish and cable TV.

    Equalise Regulations For Different Services:

    The AIDCF asked TRAI to “level the playing field between DPOs [Distribution Platform Operators] and other Platforms like Free Dish & OTT,” arguing that the latter media were unduly advantaged under extant regulatory mechanisms. The industry body has asked the TRAI to establish a licensing framework for the OTT platforms which would allow only such licensed OTT services to operate in the country. It also advocated for the application of existing regulations of  Interconnection, Tariff Order and Quality of Service to OTT and Free Dish, as these platforms were offering the same services as DPOs but without the regulatory baggage. 

    Content Parity:

    It further asked for a “uniform regulatory framework” for content, against any “artificial distinction” on the basis of medium or technology. Instead, the submission asks for content parity, where content created by one player could be distributed by another, across mediums like OTT, Cable TV, DTH, etc. It pointed towards the difference in content regulatory frameworks for linear TV, films and OTT. It asked for a uniform content regulatory framework for all content, arguing that “such disparity of content regulatory framework across platforms/mediums has created an imbalance and diluted the purpose of content regulation itself.”

    These positions seem to be different from the positions held by other industry bodies like IAMAI and NASSCOM, which have argued against the inclusion of OTT platforms in the National Broadcasting Policy on account of technological differences between dish TV and OTT platforms, and have instead asked for the policy to be restricted to the broadcasting sector. Meanwhile, the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) stated that content regulation and OTT platforms are outside the jurisdiction of TRAI and that OTT platforms cannot be legally defined as ‘service providers’, a position also echoed by Sony

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    The post Level the Playing Field Between Distribution Platform Operators and Free Dish & OTT: Digital Cable Federation to TRAI appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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